Primary contents from here.
Reports on Social Contribution Activities 2009
Events Commemorating the Anniversary of ITOCHU's Founding
Each year on the anniversary of ITOCHU's founding each department holds events in the lobby of the Tokyo Headquarters. One event included a book reading by the Fureai Network’s Reading Aloud Group. This includes staff volunteers who every second Saturday read books out loud to elderly residents of a nursing home in Shibuya ward. In addition to this there was a guide dog demonstration, the third this year, put on by an instructor from the Guide Dog & Service Dogs Association of Japan (NPO). As part of the demonstration he also spoke about what we can do when we encounter a person with a guide dog or service dog around town or at the local station.
Donation of old clothes to Mother Teresa Leprosy Centre (ITOCHU India Pvt. Ltd.)
On December 4th ITOCHU India donated old clothes collected by employees at the New Delhi Office to the Mother Teresa Leprosy Centre. The centre is located in the suburbs of New Delhi and provides facilities for both outpatient and inpatient treatment for those suffering from leprosy. The sisters working at the centre expressed their thanks and gratitude for the donations they received. The volunteer group is part of the Association of Japan in India.
WFP and Borneo Reforestation Experience Tour exhibitions in the lobby of Tokyo Headquarters
Between December 8th to December 16th we held a photo exhibition of the Reforestation Experience Tour on Borneo Island and another exhibition introducing the activities of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The latter included a display of drawings by children who had received WFP assistance. As a result of these exhibitions we collected donations totaling 233,139 yen for the WFP. During the duration of the exhibitions participants from the Reforestation Experience Tour shared their experiences with staff. On the first day of the panel exhibition which took place in the company cafeteria, we also held a food tasting session of school meals using a WFP recipe made from of porridge and soybeans harvested as a result of previous volunteer activities in villages in Yamanashi prefecture. A 150 meals were finished off in a matter of seconds.
TABLE FOR TWO menu using soybeans grown by employees
Under the slogan "Healthy Food Day" every Friday the TABLE FOR TWO option is offered at the company cafeterias at the Tokyo Headquarters, the Osaka Headquarters and Nagoya Branch. On December 11th, the company cafeteria at the Tokyo Headquarters offered a “Healthy Food” menu which included soybeans grown by employees themselves taking part in volunteer activities in the villages of Yamanashi prefecture
Establishment of a community home for disadvantaged children in the Philippines
Benefiting from financial support from ITOCHU, Youth House is the name of a new community home for juveniles established and operated now by an NGO called Kokkyo naki Kodomotachi (KnK). A large opening ceremony took place and centered around performances by the children staying at the home. KnK says that the children express their joy by dancing. The facility had intended to officially open in September but as a result of a typhoon it had already been used as a shelter for those who had lost their homes and members of their families. And amongst those who attended the ceremony was a mother who went into labor at the center and her newborn baby. For more information, please visit KnK’s website.
Tokyo Headquarters ? Blood Donations and Bone Marrow Donor Registrations
On December 14th the Japanese Red Cross Society conducted its second blood donation campaign this year and a total of 128 employees made blood donations and 9 joining the bone marrow registry.
Osaka Headquarters ? Infant safety seminar by the Japanese Red Cross Society
As a result of the very well received infant safety seminar held at the Tokyo Headquarters another was provided at the Osaka Headquarters. A total of 17 employees participated in this seminar and the speaker provided clear and easy to understand advice on infant safety. Some participants especially those with small children were so pleased with the seminar that they commented that they would like to take additional courses outside the in-house seminars.
Donating Morizo and Kiccoro picture books to an elementary school in China (ITOCHU Shanghai LTD.)
On December 15th, a ceremony took place to present picture books to WeiHaiLu III Elementary School in Shanghai. A total of 100 Morizo and Kiccoro picture books (Chinese version) were donated. The Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Government officials, approximately 80 teachers and students of the elementary school and Mr Sasaki the General Accounting Manager of ITOCHU Shanghai attended the ceremony.
This book donation we hope will be a positive start to help the children increase their awareness and understanding of the importance of looking after and caring for the environment. ITOCHU looks forward to continuing its contribution to this Japan ? China cultural exchange.
Donating Christmas Gifts to Foster Children through Angel Tree Program in New York
ITOCHU International Inc. sponsored the “Angel Tree Program” in cooperation with the Forestdale Foster Home. Forestdale is a non-profit agency that assists children and their families in the Queens area of New York by providing foster care placement, adoption and mentoring services. Itochu staff volunteered to purchase gifts written on angel shaped decorations that hung in the company’s reception area. Each angel had the name of a child along with the gift the child requested or in the case of very young children, gifts the care givers had deemed suitable. Thanks to Itochu's efforts the program provided gifts to 50 children, ages ranging from 1 to 12 years old with about half of them toddlers or very young school children.
The gifts included gift certificates catering primarily for pre-teen girls interested in fashion at stores such Sephora and Forever 21, tricycles for toddlers, and educational toys to help infants and young children learn the alphabet and numbers. The gifts collected were forwarded to the Forestdale Foster Home for distribution to the 50 children as Christmas presents.
Distribution of the Wood of Love - ITOCHU Korea Ltd.
On November 7th, a total of 20 ITOCHU Korea employees and their friends took part in a volunteer event called the "Distribution of the Wood of Love". The event is organized by the Forest of Life, a citizen volunteer group. This volunteer effort involves collecting deadwood in a forest located in the suburbs of Seoul, chopping it into firewood and delivering it to elderly people who live alone. It was a particularly worthwhile activity for us to use deadwood as biomass and earned the appreciation of the elderly people.
Orang-utan Study Session at Tama Zoo
Prior to the Reforestation Experience Tour on Borneo Island we held a study session on orang-utans at Tama Zoo on November 8th. A speaker from the zoo explained various aspects of the lives of orang-utans, for example we were told that adult orang-utans stay largely on their own and that they can move between the trees without the need to climb down because their the strength of their grip is so much stronger than ours. After the lecture and after a long wait everyone finally got chance to watch the orang-utans move along a skywalk. This brought cheers from both the children and the adults, the adults in particular getting the chance to be kids again!
Reforestation Experience Tour on Borneo Island
We hosted a Reforestation Experience Tour from November 19th to 23rd. For more information, please visit the special website devoted to "Activities to Restore the Tropical Rainforests and Conserve Borneo's Ecosystem."
Infant First Aid and AED Seminar by the Japanese Red Cross Society
A seminar on infant first aid was requested by many participants after the AED seminar held in September and as a result the Japanese Red Cross Society provided a further seminar on infant first aid and AED with a total of 39 employees taking part.
The seminar offered clear and simple explanations on what to do and what you need to be careful about when administering first aid to infants. The seminar was followed by team activities involving first aid using an infant sized dummy.
Nature Observation Session at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
On November 23rd, the “Fureai Network” which is a volunteer staff organization took part in a nature observation session accompanied by two instructors from the Nature Conservation Society of Japan acting as speakers. A total of 8 people took part.
With fine autumnal weather everyone enjoyed the beautiful autumn colors and the falling leaves. One participant commented: "I would like many more people to know that the Shinjuku Imperial Garden, despite being in the middle of a city, offers an extensive area of woodland that has been preserved since the Meiji Era (1868-1912) and is now also an important habitat for many animals”, adding further that he "...wanted people to understand and feel that we are living and protected by nature."
Volunteer Week (November 25 ? December 7)
December 1st is the anniversary of the founding of ITOCHU and each year during this week ITOCHU has what is called Volunteer Week. During this week staff support various organizations and take part in numerous volunteer activities, for example:
- Book Magic (NPO JEN)
- Campaign to deliver picture books (SVA)
- Guide dog demonstrations (Tokyo, Nagoya)
- Donation of goods to support homeless people (NPO Sanyukai)
- Making stuffed toy animals to send to developing countries (Felissimo)
- Clean up activities at the Nagoya Branch (NPO Green Bird)
- Making of New Year’s greeting cards to send to elderly people living alone in the Minato ward area.
* Report on the Clean-Up Activities of Nagoya Branch *
On December 2nd approximately 50 volunteers including General Manager of Nagoya Branch and 11 ITOCHU staff met and helped collected litter. While picking litter they took the opportunity to local people and passers by. The volunteers came from all age groups with different motives for taking part in the activity and one girl commented that she "liked picking up litter while she chatted rather than chatting while she picked up litter." The volunteers offered their time and effort in order to help local people and the local community helping to instill the concept of group work and the slogan "a clean town makes for clean hearts."
3rd ITOCHU Baseball Class for Disabled Children
On October 4th with the cooperation of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, 22 children took part in the third baseball class. Mr. Yano a former Yakult Swallows pitcher spoke to the children about sportsmanship before helping them warm up and take part in group exercises involving catching and batting practice. With the children having a variety of disabilities the sign language interpreters in particular had a very lively time. This year we also had student volunteers from the nearby Tokyo Metropolitan Aoyama Senior High School helping with the baseball event.
Indonesia ? ITOCHU Truly Cares (Inviting homeless children to a festival)
From October 3rd to 11th the Jakarta Japan Festival was held in Jakarta Indonesia. ITOCHU volunteers took part in the festival and provided the following two events:
- 1.A seminar for Indonesian university students on careers in Japan, together with a presentation about Japanese workplace culture and Japanese company philosophy.
- 2.Inviting homeless children to the closing ceremony. ITOCHU employees accompanied the children to the festival using money raised the company to cover the children’s travel expenses. The children experienced and enjoyed aspects of Japanese culture for the very first time.
ITOCHU employees accompanied the children to the festival using money raised by the company to cover the children’s travel expenses. The children experienced and enjoyed aspects of Japanese culture for the very first time. Both of the events were covered by the local newspaper and the Festival Executive Committee commented that our idea of inviting homeless children to the festival was the best and most rewarding idea among many.
Donating tableware being used in the company cafeteria to a NPO and other organizations
Eight boxes tableware that had been used in the cafeteria at the Tokyo Headquarters were donated to an NPO called Egao Tsunagete and a number of other organizations. We welcome and appreciate the opportunity for the tableware to be reused.
Taking part in the Aoyama Festival
As we have done in previous years, we provided a bossa nova concert venue at the annual Aoyama Festival. In addition to the concert venue, we also organized an event for test-riding bicycles from various manufacturers.
Three employees accept university students from China for a one-night home stay
Every year ITOCHU supports and cooperates with the “Get Closer to Japanese Companies and Feel Japan” Project sponsored by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China. ITOCHU provides volunteers who host students from China. The project was established with the purpose of inviting Chinese university students, especially those who are likely to be future leaders and to help enhance their understanding of Japan and Japanese companies.
Kyushu Branch participates in the TOTO Acorn Reforestation Project
On October 24th, 69 employees took part in a study session on ecosystems and helped collect acorns. The project involves long-term activities such as acorn picking, raising seedlings at home (two years), preparing the places where the seedlings will be planted and planting these seedlings, something which is done twice a year in spring and summer. Over the next 10 to 20 years we hope to create a broad-leaved forest with the aim of helping to preserve the environment and pass on valuable knowledge to future generations.
Kanazawa Branch & Hokuriku Toshinkai participate in the 18th Hohoemi Sports Festa Kanazawa
On October 25th, ITOCHU again took part in the Hohoemi Sports Festa Kanazawa and the slogan this year was “Disabled and Non-disabled Participants Working Out Together!” Participants enjoyed a lively sports meet with approximately 300 people attending. Eighteen people from the Kanazawa Branch and Hokuriku Toshinkai helped out with the roll call, helping at the finishing lines and awarding prizes. The volunteers had a busy time chasing after the runners as they sprinted across the finishing line. Customers from the Food Section of Kanazawa Branch kindly provided the event with many prizes. The event was brought to a close with everyone dancing together to bring an end to a very enjoyable day. It was with great pleasure that we were able to volunteer at this event for the 18th time.
Borneo Reforestation Signing Ceremony and Reforestation Forum
On October 26th, the World Wildlife Fund and the local forestery service held a ceremony to sign an agreement on a reforestation program and an accompanying forum in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, both supported by ITOCHU. Yoshio Akamatsu, Chief Executive for Asia, and Mr. Suzuki (from the General Affairs Division) represented ITOCHU at the events. At the beginning of the signing ceremony, Mr. Musa the Chief Minister of the state of Sabah in Malaysia and Mr. Datuk Mannun the Chief of the Forest Service expressed their thanks and appreciation to ITOCHU. Details and news of the forum were covered not only by local newspapers but also by the International Herald Bureau.
4th Volunteer Effort in Yamanashi Prefecture: Harvesting Soya Beans and Autumn Vegetables
On October 31st , we took the final opportunity in this fiscal year to do some volunteer to work in the villages of Hokuto City Yamanashi Prefecture. Since harvesting work tends to get monotonous, we divided the group into teams and turned it into a fun game by holding a soybean harvesting competition. Mr. Koguro from the Egao Tsunagete NPO served as chairman of the awards committee and judged the performance of each team based on various aspects such as speed and efficiency. The fun competition and pleasant backdrop of the surrounding mountains made for a great day out for everyone involved.
AED Seminar by the Japanese Red Cross Society
On September 10th the second in-house seminar for this fiscal year was held by the Japanese Red Cross at the Tokyo Headquarters. The seminar focused on first-aid procedures using an automated external defibrillator (AED). This is a popular topic among employees and 42 people took part.
First visit by recipients of the ITOCHU Scholarship Fund established to commemorate the 150th anniversary of its founding
The recipients of the 2009 ITOCHU Scholarship Fund gathered at Tokyo Headquarters and participated in an orientation program that incorporated ITOCHU’s core businesses, CSR activities, and other key activities. The orientation program was followed by a reception to give the students an opportunity to interact with current employees. Both the program and the reception afterwards were very well received by the scholarship recipients and they commented that their understanding of ITOCHU had increased and that friendships amongst the group had been strengthened.
Participation in the Tokyo 2009 Asian Youth Para Games as language volunteers
On September 12th a total of 45 ITOCHU scholarship recipients and ITOCHU Group employees took part in the Tokyo 2009 Asian Youth Para Games, an international sports event for young disabled athletes aged between 14 and 19 from Asia. Every scholarship recipient was paired with an employee in order to provide language translation and help to the overseas athletes. A day before the Para Games, meetings were held between scholarship recipients and employees to discuss each athletic event.
3rd Volunteer Effort in Yamanashi Prefecture: Harvesting & Reclamation
On September 12th, for the third time this year we took part in volunteer activities in Hokuto City in Yamanashi prefecture. This has been an ongoing initiative with the cooperation of an NPO called Egao Tsunagete. In spite of the light rain that fell throughout the day, in the morning we harvested tomatoes and green soya beans and in the afternoon we worked on reclaiming a fallow rice field that had not been used for about 15 years.
Sydney Running Festival
The Sydney Running Festival which began as a commemoration of the Sydney Olympics was held for the ninth year in 2009. The festival is now an established event supported by the residents of Sydney and is used by a number of charitable organizations to organize fund-raising campaigns. Employees from ITOCHU Australia and ITOCHU Group companies supported the fund-raising campaign of an organization called The Starlight Children Foundation as well as making their own donations. The Foundation supports terminally ill children or those who have been hospitalized for lengthy periods of times including support for the families too. On September 20th under a bright blue sky characteristic of a Sydney spring, approximately 32,000 people took part in the Sydney Running Festival. A total of 36 employees and their families participated on behalf ITOCHU Group. The Sydney Running Festival consists of four different races such as the 9km Bridge Run and the 4km Family Fun Run. Members of the ITOCHU team were able to take part in races that best suited their abilities.
Off-campus Global Warming Lecture for Aoyama Elementary School
A total of 17 sixth grade students from the nearby Aoyama Elementary School in Minato Ward were invited to the Tokyo Headquarters to listen to a lecture about global warming.
Aoyama Kumano Shrine Festival Volunteers
Sixteen ITOCHU Group employees volunteered for the Aoyama Kumano Shrine Festival held on September 26th and 27th. Although modest, they helped with various activities such as scooping fish at the goldfish shop and carrying a portable shrine.
Rice Harvesting - Activities of Wakayama Prefecture's "Corporate Furusato (Hometown)" Program
On September 26th a total of 41 new employees including executives harvested rice that had grown from seedlings that we planted in May. All in all a total of 7 bags of husked rice weighing 420kg was collected. In addition to rice, eggplants were also harvested and help given in cleaning up a local shrine. The local residents extended a very warm welcome to the volunteers providing them with a delicious lunch made from locally produced rice and vegetables. With it being the first reunion for some time it went a long way to deepening the ties with the local community.
In-house seminar at the Osaka head office: “Everyday Nursing Seminar”
On August 19th, we organized a seminar on nursing techniques adapted to everyday life. Twenty people who attended on the day were able to try out wheelchairs.
Planned by the Chemicals, Forest Products & General Merchandise Company: Take your child to work—Find out what Mom and Dad do
In the morning, commute with your mother or father and experience the grueling rush hour. After arriving at work, you will at first learn how to do greetings from the new employees and put it into practice at the workplace, and in the evening you will find out where your parents actually work. The program was designed to help children understand what kind of work their moms and dads do every day.
During the day, to make the program more effective, the older children played the Iki-iki Business Game, which is a taster of the business of a trading company, while younger children did their work experience at KidZania. The older students also had lunch with their mother or father in the cafeteria on the B1 floor, learned about the reforestation of Borneo, and visited Tokyo harbor to get an even better feel for the work of a trading company.
Volunteering in depopulated villages in Yamanashi: Weeding and planting vegetables
On Saturday July 11th, we volunteered for the second time at a farming community in Yamanashi Prefecture. Since the expressways were very congested, we arrived late and had an early lunch so that we could start the work in the afternoon.
Arriving at the fields...we were speechless. They were covered in weeds and where were the soybeans. After first listening to an explanation of why it is necessary to remove weeds, we started working steadily on the never-ending task. We struggled mightily, but we were not able to finish the weeding. Still, the children seemed to have had a good day sowing seeds for carrots and pumpkins. In September we will return to harvest the vegetables.
In-house seminar: “Living a Real Life”
On July 15th, Shinpei Oikawa, a player on the wheelchair basketball team at the Sydney Paralympics, visited the Tokyo head office to talk about his view of life, which is the result of his pain.
At age 16, Oikawa had his leg amputated as a result of osteosarcoma. Later, at age 22, he started playing wheelchair basketball with the champions on the Chiba Hawks team and two years later he went to the United States. He played wheelchair basketball for the wheelchair basketball team under the NBA Seattle SuperSonics team and for other teams including the 1994 US champions, Team FRESNO. At present he plays for the NO EXCUSE team in Tokyo.
Volunteering to make preserved flower corsages
On the occasion of the lobby concert at the Tokyo head office on the 22nd, twenty-four employees volunteered to make preserved flower corsages to present to everyone from the Agape Center. All the volunteers put their hearts into the creations to add a little more elegance to the occasion of the concert.
2009 ITOCHU LOBBY CONCERT
Every year we invite people from the Agape Center* to a concert in the lobby of Tokyo head office. On July 22nd this year, 27 people including staff were able to enjoy music played by the New York Symphonic Ensemble. In addition to volunteers from the ITOCHU Group, students from Kyoritsu Women's University and junior college also helped out us. Every year, Keiko Takeshita meets with all the guests from the Agape Center and this year our Chairman, Uichiro Niwa, also put in an appearance, bringing gifts of sweets for all the visitors.
- * Comprehensive social services for persons with disabilities under the auspices of the Japan Church World Service
Volunteers from the Indonesia branch support an elementary school in a slum
On July 12th, ITC Indonesia and a group of volunteers from the Jakarta office paid a visit to an elementary school in Bantargebang district bringing supplies with them.
The district is located about one hour from Jakarta by car. It became a dumping site (a colossal mountain of garbage) for the city of Jakarta and a place where the poorest of the poor make a living collecting and selling usable things from the garbage with their children living in a very poor environment.
Even though the day was a Sunday and a holiday, many teachers, children and their families had gathered together. The day started with a welcome performance by the children, then the supplies were carried in and after a tour of the school, a photo shoot and sweets presented to each of the children, we inspected a part of the dumping site. As for the 85,000 yen collected from staff, we allocated it to buy desks, chairs and whiteboards for the classrooms. We also presented about ten cardboard boxes of supplies that we had collected including a lot of clothing (new and used) and toys.
A charity bazaar at the Asahi Beer Evening
On July 30th, we held a charity auction and bazaar at the annual Asahi Beer Evening. This year the proceeds and contributions were donated to Japan CliniClowns Association, a not-for-profit organization that dispatches CliniClowns to children's hospitals to help create an environment where children fighting illnesses can laugh and regain some of their inherent strength.
“Looking at our city from a high place”—Off-campus school for 3rd year students at Aoyama elementary school in Minato Ward
This year as well, twenty third-year students from Aoyama elementary school visited the head office in Tokyo on June 11th. Looking at the city from a high place, the purpose of the lesson is for the students to get to know their city by thinking about what can be found in the places where they live.
Volunteer interpreters for the IRB Toshiba Junior World Championships
For 17 days from June 5th to 21st, 2009, the second IRB Toshiba Junior World Championships were held in locations around Japan. When some of the Itochu Rugby Club who served as points of contact called on the ITOCHU Group for volunteers, four employees assisted at two matches held at the Chichibu-no-Miya rugby field, providing English interpretation to all national teams so that activities such as providing information about the match venues went well.
As employees of a trading company, it is an opportunity for us to show the English ability we polish everyday and to demonstrate that we can adapt to any situation. We believe that it was very significant that this ability was of some service at the World Championships. As a community-based company, we will continue to volunteer with the rugby championships in the future.
Participation in Walk the World to eradicate child hunger
On Sunday June 7th, 39 people from ITOCHU (approx. 200 from the ITOCHU Group) participated in the Walk the World charity walk. Starting together under a sun that was as hot as the height of summer, participants enjoyed walking the 5 km or 10 km routes through the atmospheric city of Yokohama. A portion of the participation fees for this event is earmarked to support school lunches through the World Food Programme (WFP).
Participation in the Gomi Zero Clean Walk organized by Hiroshima city
On Sunday, June 7th, a total of eleven employees from ITOCHU and group companies participated in the Gomi Zero Clean Walk. Started in 1982, this is a campaign to banish litter with the aim of raising interest in beautifying the environment among residents of Hiroshima as well as making the city clean and litter-free. Participants can choose between any of eleven starting points.
“First Aid”—In-house seminar by the Japanese Red Cross at the Tokyo head office
What if you have to deal with an injury in daily life or in an earthquake or other disaster....With the emphasis on practical training, twenty-three participants learned how to stem bleeding, and to apply dressings and triangle bandages. This time, with the summer just ahead, we also learned how to treat heat stroke, a real risk at this time of year. Even if in your head you understand what to do, the knowledge is not much use in an emergency unless you practice regularly. We will continue to practice periodically from now on.
Donating blood to the Japanese Red Cross (Tokyo head office)
This was the 20th blood donor drive at the Tokyo head office with 157 applicants donating blood. In addition, six people registered as donors with the bone marrow bank.
Volunteering in depopulated villages in Yamanashi: Planting soybeans
On Saturday May 30th, we volunteered to do farm work in a depopulated village in Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture. In this, the third year, we tripled the area of land where we worked to 1500m2.
In the morning, we heard a lecture on the topic of “The Present Situation in Farming Communities and the Potential of CSR Activities” at the urban and rural community center, Mizugakiland, and in the afternoon we finally got to work on the planting. The seeds are planted two at a time in straight rows in the field. Two plants supporting each other will grow better we were told. Just like people.
Since there were many repeat volunteers, we were able to understand the task and finish it within the time frame. In July, we will be going back for weeding.
Participating in rice planting and firefly netting as part of the “Corporate Furusato” program in Wakayama Prefecture
On Saturday May 30th, about 50 employees from the Osaka head office planted the rice and prepared the light shade net for fireflies (protecting fireflies from the headlights of cars) as one of the activities of Wakayama Prefecture's “Furusato(hometown)” program. This event was held at Amano village in Katsuragi city, an area rich with nature located at an elevation of 450 m at the foot of Mt. Koya, Wakayama Prefecture. This program aims at protecting agricultural land through cooperation between enterprises and farming communities. It also aims at revitalizing Amano village by deepening Itochu's understanding to agriculture and the concern for nature through the experience of planting and harvesting rice together with the farmers there.
On that day, all employees wore yellow T-shirts with same LOGO (sponsored by the Textile Company) and entered the paddy fields to plant to the rice accompanied by the locals calling out encouraging words.
Tokyo Sports Games for the Disabled
Since 1994, ITOCHU has been participating with employees volunteering to assist at the Games organized by Tokyo, and with the Food Company providing drinking water. On Saturday May 30th, a total of 14 volunteers from the ITOCHU Group and Kyoritsu Women's University & Junior College supported athletes from Soleil Hana no Sato, a care facility for the developmentally disabled in Ome City. The medal rush that resulted from the strenuous efforts not deterred by the threat of rain brightened the smiling faces of the athletes and the volunteers. This year we also received a thank-you letter from the Tokyo Sports Association for the Disabled in our capacity of an organization that has supported and cooperated with the Games for a long time.
Cherry Blossom Cleanup Campaign
For the 11th year, and with the Yoshino cherry trees in full bloom, we participated together with local shopkeepers in clean-up activities at Aoyama Cemetery during lunch hour.
We collected about two bags, so it seems that with the restrictions on visitors since last year, when reserving places under the trees was disallowed, the amount of garbage has been reduced compared with previous levels.
ITOCHU International and ITOCHU Prominent USA employees volunteered to clean up New York City park
Forty people, including Mr. Suzuki, the CEO, with their friends and families spent the day cleaning up, raking, weeding, and digging the paths in Forest Park in Queens, New York. The road had once again become a passable path into the park for local residents, cleared of shrubs. The Park's Head Gardener was very appreciative and told us all to come back again. It is a day to get out in the fresh air with our fellow employees and have a good time during something worthwhile.
In-house seminar at Osaka head office: “A Method of Care that Aims for One More Step”
On April 22nd, we invited physiotherapist Setsuko Fukube to give a talk about a method of care-giving that draws out the intrinsic strengths of persons who need assistance. Twenty-eight people attended the talk.
Supporting the Meisei Gakuen Junior High School Establishment Fund
Meisei Gakuen is the only school in Japan where teachers conduct classes in Japanese Sign Language so that deaf children can acquire sign language as their first language.
Sharing the ideals of the school, we have been providing support since the primary school was set up. Now we are assisting with the establishment of a secondary school.
In June 2009, Meisei Gakuen was able to submit an application to establish a junior high school to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. If approval is obtained, the junior high school will open in April 2010 so that children who are graduating from the elementary school can rest secure in the knowledge that they will be able to study the junior high school curriculum in Japanese Sign Language.
Nemunoki Children and Mariko Art Exhibition Supported by ITOCHU
Produced by Mariko Miyagi, the art exhibition was held at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa from April 28 to May 23. Every day during the period, students from Nemunoki Gakuen gave a mini-concert for a fantastic art show that was enjoyable not only for fans but also for many others.
- * In 1968, Nemunoki Gakuen was started as the first care facility for physically disabled children in Japan. The founder, Mariko Miyagi, has long been recognized for her achievements in improving the welfare and education of children. She has won many awards including the Prime Minister's Award and the Helen Keller Award.